Friday, November 12, 2010

Venison Rindsrouladen (German Pickle Steak)

Venison Rindsrouladen (German Pickle Steak)
There's nothing like cold weather to stir up one's appetite. And while soups, stews and stocks might rule the traditional snowy roost, I simply salivate over this venison rendition of Rindsrouladen (German Pickle Steak). It has all the key ingredients of a delicious dinner: venison, bacon, pickles. What more could you ask for?

This recipe was adapted from a traditional Rindsrouladen I prepared with a local German chef and friend. So pour a pint of stout, get out your dumplings, spaetzle or potato pancakes and let's get wrapped up in bacon and red meat.

Venison Rindsrouladen (German Pickle Steak)
Venison backstrap
1 lb. bacon, cut in half
Carrots, peeled, cut into 2" lengths and quartered (about four carrots-worth - Save odds and ends for sauce)
Celery stalks, cut into 2" length and then into thirds lengthwise (Save odds and ends for sauce)
Kosher pickle spears, cut into 2" lengths (Save some pickle juice for sauce)
2 white onions, cut in half and sliced thinly
Dijon mustard
Fresh garlic, about 4 cloves
6 oz. tomato paste
Marjoram to taste (start with a 1/4 tsp. and add more if needed)
Oregano to taste (start with a 1/4 tsp. and add more if needed)
Bay leaf
Oil for browning meat
1 quart beef stock
Salt and pepper to taste

Start by slicing venison backstrap into about 1"-thick steaks, then place between two sheet of plastic wrap and pound until very thin. Season slices with salt and pepper and spread a layer of Dijon mustard on one side. Then place two small strips of bacon, a carrot stick, celery stick, pickle spear and few strips of sliced onion over mustard-coated venison pieces. Roll up venison around the vegetables (tightly) and secure roll with a couple of toothpicks.

Heat up your favorite skillet with a little oil. Brown rolled venison slowly and carefully, then transfer to your favorite dutch oven, add beef stock and begin to simmer. In the skillet used for browning meat, add garlic, remaining onion slices and all your odds-and-ends pieces of the carrots and celery and saute until onions are translucent. Then, to the vegetables, add Marjoram, Oregano, a little pickle juice, about a tablespoon of mustard, Bay leaf and a little water. Simmer for about 5 minutes.

Back to the dutch oven and venison, add the can of tomato paste and 1 cup of warm water, then add the vegetables and juices from the skillet to the dutch oven. Put the lid on and simmer lightly for about 2 1/2 hours. Before serving, remove meat and use a hand blender to puree the vegetable and beef stock in the dutch oven. Ladle this sauce generously over the rolled meat and your dumplings, spaetzle or potato pancakes. Prost!